Essentrics Stretch Series Vol. 1

Essentrics Stretch Series Vol 1 contains three 30 minute workouts. Just like all Classical Stretch/Essentrics workouts you are moving constantly. They are dynamic flexibility/mobility workouts. The moves change in some fashion any time you repeat it and there are many components to each move. Because of this, it is much to difficult to break these workouts down move by move as I do in other workouts, so I won’t. I will give generic summaries of what each workout contains and give my thoughts on each workout after doing it. These were my first Essentrics workouts done by an instructor other than Miranda Esmonde-White, the creator of Classical Stretch/Essentrics. Having done Classical Stretch Season 8 and I am currently working my through Season 12, I recognize all of the moves. It is different though to have them delivered without Miranda’s quirky personality. I did like all of these trainers and they all did a good job, but they aren’t Miranda.

Tension Release is 31 minutes and is led by Meg Feeny. Equipment: chair. This was a nice workout. There is some deep stretching but just like any Classical Stretch workout I’ve ever done you do not actually hold any of the stretches–you move in and out of them. The pace of this is very slow and Meg hits every muscle and joint in your body at some point. This workout starts with slow dynamic flexibility. The emphasis shifts to the lower body, in side lunge stretch variations but still using the upper body. The focus returns to dynamic flexibility/mobility of the upper body. You move back to the lower body with plie squat variations. Get a chair. Hold chair back while you do barre squat stretches for your feet, ankles and calves. Next you move up to dynamic calf stretches that incorporate the upper body in some of the moves. Place your foot on your chair for some more dynamic stretching of the lower body. This is a long segment as Meg works her way through all of the muscle groups in your lower body. She also works in some upper body mobility/dynamic flexibility. It ends with dynamic spine stretching using the chair.

Joint Pain Relief is 30 minutes and is led by Gail Garceau. Equipment: chair. This was another nice dynamic flexibility and mobility workout. I felt Gail focused a lot on the lower body, which is fine. She hit the spine and upper body, too, but the lower body got the most attention. There are a few moves in this workout that felt really good for my healing shoulder. I really enjoyed this workout and felt nicely stretched out at the end. The workout as a whole was gentle and done to a slow relaxed pace. The workout begins with slow side to side lunges to warm up the lower body then you add upper body mobility/dynamic stretches to the lunges. The focus moves to primarily upper body and spine mobility/dynamic stretching. Then focus returns to the lower body; you lower into a wide plie squat then side lunges that include the upper body. Return to the wide slow plie squats. She adds heel raises and pivots into traditional lunges. Next you move back to the upper body for more mobility/dynamic flexibility. Next is total body mobility/flexibility exercises. Get the chair. You use the chair for stretches that focus on the lower body. She works her way through each muscle group starting with the back of leg then the hips, then the glutes. You return to the hips and this time upper body mobility/flexibility is included. The workout ends with more work for the spine.

Full Body Deep Stretch is 33 minutes and is led by Amanda Cyr. Equipment: fitness mat and flat yoga block. This was definitely the most advanced and challenging of the 3 workouts. I would categorize this one as a dynamic strength and flexibility workout. Amanda did stretch you out but she also worked the muscles. She took every muscle group and joint through full ranges of motion. I was challenged and during the standing part of this workout I even started perspiring! Once you move to the mat it is gentler but still does a great job working your muscles and joints deeply. You get mobility, flexibility and strength in this workout. And though, like all Classical Stretch/Essentrics workouts, you are pretty much in constant controlled motion, Amanda does have you hold a few of the stretches briefly. This workout begins with some deep mobility/flexibility work focusing on the arms, shoulders and spine. Continue this deep mobility work but now the lower body is included in the exercises. Next you focus on the lower body with slow side to side deep lunges. Add upper body mobility/flexibility to the lunges. The exercises becomes very flowing deep full body mobility flexibility work. The focus moves back to the lower body with dynamic flexibility work. Continue you lower body moves but add arm and spine mobility/flexibility. Next you do wide plie squats. Add upper body dynamic stretching. While remaining in wide plie squat, you work your toes and feet, then she moves back up to hips and legs. Return to the upper body for more dynamic flexibility. Continue with the upper body but the moves become full body again, working the spine and lower body. Lay on your back on your fitness mat and begin doing lower body dynamic flexibility/mobility exercises. Next you will lay on your side and continue working the lower body with flexibility/mobility exercises. Sit up and the mobility/flexibility exercises become full body again. Sit on your yoga block with your legs extended for forward fold variations working your entire body. This workout ends sitting cross-leg and doing dynamic stretches for the neck and shoulders.

3 thoughts on “Essentrics Stretch Series Vol. 1

  1. Hey there. I have been waiting (patiently … ok, mostly patiently 🙂) for this review as I am interested in this DVD. Well, I should say that I am interested in the concept of Classical Stretch, but I don’t enjoy all Classical Stretch episodes (styles). I can handle Miranda as an instructor, however I do find her a little much sometimes, but only sometimes. Since we get a PBS channel I recorded about 10 of her season 13 episodes before the channel just stopped running episodes. The ones I like the best are mainly standing with flowing movements, so as an example one S13 episode is identified as ‘all standing, back strengthening workout’ is one I will keep on my DVR and use, I also like an episode that is mostly standing but with some floor work identified as ‘advanced, standing and floor workout to improve agility’ as well as another ‘beginner, full body connective tissue’ workout. I am not as fond of episodes that seem to be mostly barre work, a little is ok, but if it is the focus I am unlikely to return to it. As well, if she just spends huge amounts of time focusing on opening and closing her hands, or just lifting her leg repeatedly, then the fast fwd button is my friend.

    All of this to say that I am trying to figure out if I should hit purchase on this DVD, and surprisingly to me, despite your great review, I sense you have reservations, maybe? Anyway, I would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.

    Yvonne

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    1. I did like the Stretch DVD–a lot actually. But I also really like Miranda. So I did miss what she brings to the workouts with her personality. However, if she is a little much for you then I think you would enjoy these because the trainers are very low key. They are calm, not quirky, they make no predictions that their workout will cure your hunchback or other horrible deformities like Miranda does. (o;

      Two of the workouts do have the chair work that Miranda calls barre work but is usually unlike any other barre work I’ve ever done. Most of Miranda’s barre work is usually mobility work using the chair. There is some of that. But the final workout would probably be your favorite based on what you said about Season 13. When I did season 8, my favorite workouts were usually the ones that were all standing–no chair. And like you, I don’t mind some floor work, but not a lot. I always like it when Miranda does lower body mat work.

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      1. Many thanks for your quick response, I kind of thought (hoped) that it was just you missing Miranda’s quirkiness :). I do have a Classical Stretch DVD that includes the Athletes Intense Stretch workout, and it does have Miranda, but the focus is more on typical stretching with Miranda quirkiness, rather than what Miranda presents in her Classical Stretch TV program. For me it works because she relates it to one of my favourite sports – volleyball (think side to side motions preparing to dig for balls etc) however I do not find the workout to be as ‘life changing’ as Miranda suggests, but it does provide a good stretch and I feel good after I finish it.

        I think that I will put this Essentrics Stretch DVD on my ‘to buy’ list as I agree with you that the third workout you list is probably what I am looking for in a 30 min format. And I am looking forward to your review of Season 12. I am on the waiting list for Season 10 at my library and may see it within the next month, but seasons 11, 12 and 13 have a wait list that is probably 6 months long each! It would seem that Classical Stretch is VERY popular in my city! Many thanks.

        Yvonne

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